Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-8) introduced the Native Plant Species Pilot Program Act, bipartisan legislation that would establish a pilot program in National Park Service regions to promote the use of native plant materials. This program would encourage the National Park Service to give preference to using locally adaptive native plant materials and incorporate efforts to combat the spread of invasive plant species. This legislation also encourages collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management, Plant Conservation Alliance, and Plant Materials Centers of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The bill has been endorsed by the Garden Club of America, Friends of Arcadia, and Scenic America. Senators Susan Collins and Maria Cantwell have previously introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“As co-chair of the House Invasive Species Caucus, I am proud to be introducing this bipartisan legislation to promote native plant species” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “The North Country is home to a variety of native plant species that support biodiversity and support our ecosystems. Promoting the use of native species is beneficial for wildlife, humans, and the environment, and our National Parks will greatly benefit from the introduction of this program. I am proud to be introducing this legislation, and I look forward to working with my colleagues towards its passage in the House.”
“Fighting invasive species is critical to preserving our national parks so we can enjoy them for generations to come,” said Rep. Cartwright, who serves as vice-chair of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC). “When it comes to our Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, millions of residents and tourists come every year to enjoy the woodland wildflowers that bloom bright in the spring, white oaks and red maples that shed their rustic-colored leaves in the fall, and the eastern hemlocks that define this local treasure all year round. We have to do our part to maintain the unique natural beauty of these areas all across the nation.”
“This visionary legislation will demonstrate that native plants on our public lands provide multiple benefits, including combatting invasive species, and providing food and shelter for local wildlife. Native plants are critical to controlling erosion, moderating floods, filtering water and sequestering carbon,” said Debbie Edwards, President of the Garden Club of America. “We applaud Representative Cartwright and Representative Stefanik for their leadership in restoring and protecting the ecosystems that are crucial for life on earth.”
“Native plants are the backbone of our world,” said Cornelia Forrence, President of the Adirondack Garden Club. “They provide shelter and food for wildlife, support pollinators, use less water, fewer pesticides, and most importantly support biodiversity. The Adirondack Garden Club’s commitment to native plants is reflected in our constitution, and we remain committed to conserving plants, shrubs, and trees native to the Adirondack. We commend Congresswoman Stefanik for sharing this perspective and prioritizing this issue, and we wholeheartedly support this bill.”